Monday, 4 April 2016

Mosaics Revisited

Back in the late 90s I got my crafting freak on by making mosaics rather than jewellery.  

Found objects mosaic bust, 2003

Swan planter (for/with Kaffe Fassett), Chelsea Flower Show, 1999

I loved it very much but it wrecked my arm (RSI in my right wrist) and left me with a LOT of mosaic-y things to accommodate in a small flat.  So I stopped.  I like making jewellery more, but some of the aspects are similar - making a whole out of many parts, recycling and playing with pattern and colour.

So when my friend Liz Pichon (author extraordinaire and mother of Shark Alley model, Ella) asked me to make some commemorative mosaic pieces from her late mother's blue and white china collection, I wasn't sure whether I actually could.

Extreme laziness had meant I hadn't actually got rid of my mosaic tools, so that was all OK and hopefully my wrist could take a small burst of mosaic-making activity before having a melt-down.  Liz and I had a very business-like (prosecco-free) meeting and she showed me this great piece which incorporated cups as plant holders.  Very inspirational!  I was totally on board.
Sadly I can't find any accreditation for this piece
Liz's Mum had collected lots of cups and mugs, as well as jugs and sugar bowls, so providing I could snap them in half fairly cleanly, there was plenty of scope to make four of these using three 'containers' each.

As is usual in these sorts of projects, it was all about the prep and the prep took aaaaaaaages.  Then there was the breaking of the cups.  Three just disintegrated, so I had to try and work out a good method of snapping them.  I found that taping up the 'good' side all the way round and then carefully snipping with the mosaic nippers was slightly more successful.  Any breakages were repaired with Araldite.

All in all, they worked out better than I thought and they definitely improved as I went along and got my mosaic mojo back.  I'm quite tempted to make more!

Here are some pics!

Exterior surfaces prepped with gloss paint to protect them. Also for aesthetic purposes!
Mirror plates to attach the piece to a wall have to be screwed on before the mosaic part begins.

Oops.  Hurrah for Araldite!
Laying out the cups.
More gloss paint goes under the cups in case I can't tile inside them.
Breaking up the china.
Blue border goes on first.
Then the cups are stuck on and decorative elements applied.
The white background is filled in 'pique assiette' style.
The surface area is all filled and waiting for grout.
I love a rubber potter's kidney for applying the grout.
All done!  This is my favourite 
The grouting process is so important in tying the whole thing together.
Mirror pieces are added in case candles are going into the cups instead of plants.

The bottoms of saucers with 'England' logos look like little stamps or maker's marks.

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